Oh Boy

We found out a couple of weeks ago that your humble-blogger, WBD, will now be the father of a boy. I’d like to say that I wasn’t extra excited about the prospects of teaching this unformed XY chromosomer how to throw a curve ball, but then I remembered that I’d have to learn how to do that myself. For someone that thinks of themselves as a jack of all/master of none, this was going to provide some complexity on the teaching-front.

From a clueless male’s perspective having a little girl is actually quite easy. The bar is set so low that anything I provide seems instantly valuable and useful. When I was solo-parenting it was amazing (and a bit off-putting) how frequently I garnered praise for the most mundane action (WOW, YOU CAN KEEP A CHILD IN A GROCERY CART WITHOUT ACCIDENTALLY RUNNING OVER IT!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! YOU CAN GET A BABY THROUGH THE SECURITY CHECKPOINT AT THE AIRPORT ALL BY YOURSELF!! YOU’RE A HERO!!), while on the flip-side of that, I observed a mom who was juggling toddler twins with a newborn strapped to her chest deftly navigate a post office at Christmas, receive not a word of encouragement or affirmation. Perhaps I looked like someone that needed help, but who is going to help me when there are macho dude things to teach?

I thought I’d endeavor to create a list of my “manspirations” to remind me that I have quite a few “dudes” in my life that can help me teach my unborn child to be masculine (assuming said unborn actually wants this).

DoD:

Dear-ol’-Dad is and always will be a dichotomy; a bookish-intellectual who loves yelling at the TV just as much as the next guy. He taught me about building trellises in the garden, how to throw an elbow playing sports (or catching BART), and the value of being seen and not heard. I didn’t learn that last one very well, but perhaps my little guy will. AT has nicknamed herself “chatter box” so this may be a genetic flaw too great to overcome. “Fortune favors the bold” is something I’ve never actually heard him say, but know that’s what he believes. I’ll pass that bit on.

DoD relaxing in some type of body of water. I inherited the ability to do this really well– and plan to pass it on to my unborn son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DJ MnBn:

Here is a photo of my brother, another male role model in my family. Despite his appearance, he is a great dad, has a good job as a lawyer at a Swedish agency that helps immigrants settle in Sweden (some even deservedly-so), and a loving family. Because of his appearance, we have nicknamed him DJ MnBn (vowels removed to protect the innocent).

DJ Mn Bn took time away from his busy international DJ lifestyle to take my nephew to a scouting activity. This is both inspirational and a small token of basic parental responsibilities that I too plan to embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends:

This is the group I’m counting on to both teach me and reign me in.  Sammy, you will teach me to build stuff like an addition to our tiny home. Daniel P, you will teach me how to ride a motorcycle and how to best enunciate with my hands. DK, you will teach me some baseball things (and hope that Jr. doesn’t inherit my uncanny ability to get injured). Nate, you will teach me how to fly fish and Eagle Scout level camp. Blanch, you will teach me high finance. The list goes on an on of things my friends will teach me, that I will someday hope to teach my son. Thank  you in advance!

Here’s something that my mom taught me, that I will pay forward.

“Easy as pie” BBQ chicken recipe that is both a little bit country and lotta rock n’ roll:

1) Brine the chicken with a mix of apple juice and salt, 2) put chicken in that brine, 3) let soak for 30+ minutes (more than 2 hours is great), 4) BBQ that chicken, 5) don’t over or under-cook it. Guestimate is hot fire (400 degrees, covered) for 20 minutes. 6) let it rest for at least 10 minutes before cooking it.

Last Night’s BBQ Chicken and Purple Broccolini.

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How to be Good, the Inspirational “Velfie”

In this installment of steal-your-dad’s-phone and record an inspirational velfie (video-selfie), AT provides some words of wisdom on how to be good. Give it a listen and do some learning. It’s really not that hard, plus you’ll be a gooder person for it.

Throwback Post: Is My 3-year-old a Gold Digger?

I started writing this post when she was 3 because of her propensity for gender stereotyping herself, but then, like all kids, she transitioned to a new phase and suddenly it felt irrelevant. Now as she has immersed herself in Kindergarten and seemingly become much more well-rounded. She loves sports and has sworn off wearing dresses, and I wanted to remind myself of what she was once like. My little princess.

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Her favorite color is gold or sparkly. I guess I can be happy she didn’t say platinum.

Her favorite type of food could definitely be qualified as “artisan” (read expensive, locally produced and probably grass fed or free range uber-organics).

Her favorite accessory is flashy, albeit currently plastic, jewelry. And lot’s of it.

She wants to be dripping in bling.

The girl likes money.

Photo from when she was 3 illustrates the juxtaposition of the job she wanted (Princess) with the job I was pushing her to want (MD).

Photo from when she was 3 illustrates the juxtaposition of the job she wanted (Princess) with the job I was pushing her to want (MD).

She only deviates from expensive things when it comes to transportation. Her preferred method of transportation is a city bus. She is still a 3 year old after all, and giving up the social interaction and weirdness that occurs on a city bus for more luxurious confines would be a major sacrifice for someone her age.

She did however, really seem to enjoy the private plane ride she took with her mom a couple of weeks ago. In the photo her mom sent me, she looked like she was waiting for the flashbulbs to go off.

If you’ve seen the opening scene La Dolce Vita, the model’s face as she exits the plane is pretty analogous to the face AT was making in the photo. I’d call it subdued beaming, the ultimate oxymoron for the elite, and extremely prideful. Yikes. She looked both thrilled and like it was completely de rigeur.

I’m pretty nervous about this, as I was really planning on her making all the money for our family. The pageant circuit is too slow and arduous. Sending her down to Los Angeles to go on auditions seems too tedious and a long-sighted (never my style). I’m going to have to keep thinking about what I can do to simultaneously create a life for her that is as opulent as she desires, while also teaching her the valuable lesson that she is the one that should be making the money for her old man. It’s a conundrum, for sure.

Rockstar Podcast #12: Japanese Immersion Kindergarten, Soccer, and New Beginnings

There was a bit of apprehension on the first day of the Japanese Immersion Kindergarten Project.

There was a bit of apprehension on the first day of the Japanese Immersion Kindergarten Project, but as evidenced by this edition of Rockstar Podcast, she is diving in.

This week’s episode (as opposed to the last episode which occurred close to 15 weeks ago) covers some pretty neat and highly deep topics like: early childhood education, the Japanese language immersion project, Soccer (Fùtbol Kindergartneränø), and other amazingly interesting topics for you. Thanks for listening to our podcast and we hope you enjoy (nnnñññññññññyoy) it!!

 

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Patience and Listening Go Hand-in-Hand. RIGHT?!! Are you LISTENING!!?!?!

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AT just turned 5 and has a bit of a mischievous streak. She is also someone quite comfortable wearing a crown/tiara. Here she is at her birthday circle at school.

I really have to start taking my own advice. Frequently, when AT gets frustrated or confused (or denied her precious “shows”) she lashes out and gets really upset, and I always try to calm her down by saying “take a deep breath”. My mom taught me this one and it works for pretty much any scenario where you feel stress. With AT, it works most of the time. Sometimes she even realizes that she has overreacted and apologizes for her misbehavior, which I think is pretty great for a newly minted 5-year-old. I’m really proud of her when she does that.

That being said, it feels like I’m constantly repeating myself, trying to get her to listen and pay attention and sometimes I break and I yell. I hate myself when I do that and I also feel like they are completely avoidable if I just “take a deep breath” before reacting to what I feel like is the end of my rope.

 

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Rockstar Podcast #10: Holiday Movie Guide; Home Alone, Danish Xmas, et al

After a brief hiatus of 6 months — taken as the on-air partners worked through both contractual and creative differences/mental sabbatical; RockSta®: the Podcast ©™ — is “back and better than ever imagined before”©!

On this return episode we tackle everything in 10 minutes from hard hitting local issues like the deep-bore(ing) tunnel/Big Bertha, to the holiday classic movie, Home Alone. We also introduced our new contributor; the strong/silent, Fini© – all the way from Denmark!©. We hope you enjoy! Happy Holidays!

 

Eatin' fro yo in the parking lot - apres' swim. Queen Anne, Seattle November 2014.

Eatin’ fro yo in the parking lot – apres’ swim. Queen Anne, Seattle November 2014.

The RockStar the Podcast talent (L-R): J, Tay-Tay, Fini

The RockStar the Podcast talent (L-R): J, Tay-Tay, Fini

Coaching: When to step in and help your kid against overzealousness

AT has been taking swimming lessons at the pool in our neighborhood and she has really loved it. The frolicking, the dunking her head on-command, the positive reinforcement from a real-life swim coach — swimming and learning with an expert that isn’t her dad. It’s been a really great experience except for those periods where she has been inconsolably bawling.

See, most of the staff at the pool is both adept at swimming and teaching, but also interacting with children. This is a hard job for someone that is really good at the former and not the latter.

The pool in question and prior to meltdown.

The pool in question and prior to meltdown.

Everyone of the coaches she works with except that one overzealous guy that CAN’T SEEM TO REALIZE THAT 3 AND 4 YEAR-OLDS LIKE IT WHEN KIDS YELL, BUT NO SO MUCH WHEN ADULTS DO IT!!!

He is great at generating looks of disgust and fear from his routine of excitedly showing how not-to swim gracefully (eg. flailing/splashing/yelling/thrashing/whipping his hair into their sweet little faces like a Merman). See, he’s really good at swimming, and he loves swimming, and see, well, GET IT? YEAAAAAAAAAAH!  HE’S GOOD AT IT!!!! SPLASH!! ALSO KIDS!!! THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO!! OK??!!

The last class was a couple of weeks ago and I had to walk over at a certain point and ask that Merman not be the one to work with AT as she was cowering in the corner and paralyzed with fear. She was the 2nd child to have to “hit the showers” early because Merman had scared them, yet Merman was blissfully unaware that his behavior was causing this.

I was going to really just let it go (in the parlance of our times), but recently Andie moved on to invididual lessons and appears to have developed a fear of all men in pools. Part of me thinks this is a fear I should foster, but only the irrational part thinking about teenage pool parties and 80’s movies.

I felt genuinely stupid about pulling her out of class because let’s face it, my generation is a bunch of wimps. Can you imagine what 4 or 5 generations removed from the greatest generation will be like? I’ll tell  you, they will be ineffectual, afraid of Mermen and other mythical man-creatures, and pretty much afraid of everything. I’ll be tying her shoes when she’s 40 and living in my basement (which is really my parents basement).

Thankfully, these kids will probably get to adolescence and live through a terrible economic depression and World War IV to strengthen their resolve. I was never that lucky and part of me really wishes I was.

In all sincerity; it is a fine line  between tiger-daddying and letting our children learn that people can  be a bit scary, yet harmless. The Merman was definitely harmless and I could even see a flicker of acknowledgement when I had to ask that he stay away from my precious daughter.

This is what AT envisioned when she thought a Merman would be teaching her how to swim.

This is what AT envisioned when she thought a Merman would be teaching her how to swim. Oh how wrong she was.